Joseph Mallord William Turner

Views at Sandgate


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCVIII 73 a

Catalogue entry

Turner seems here to describe two opposing views of Sandgate on the Kent coast. The identification is provoked by the topographical arrangement, which places two distinctive Martello towers on cliffs either side of the town, and also the squat presence of Sandgate Castle on the shoreline.
The topmost drawing describes Sandgate from the west, with the castle delineated at the water’s edge towards the right. At top left, Turner seems to have been dissatisfied with his original placement of the cliff and Martello tower, repeating the shapes twice to achieve the desired height. Loose, fluid lines indicate the shape of the tide on the beach, while a more regimented and detailed approach is taken to the cluster of buildings along the shore and further back.
Lower down the page, a second drawing seems to offer a view of Sandgate from the east, utilising a viewpoint in the direction of Folkestone. Still observing the topography from sea level, Turner records the duo of Martello towers once again. One is apparent at the centre of the sketch and the other visible directly adjacent with the gutter on the far right. Sandgate Castle seems to be described towards the left, but is less distinctive in this rendering. Indeed, buildings in the foreground on the right are reduced to simple, cubic forms.
For a more detailed account of the purpose and history of the Martello towers, and a list of their appearances in this sketchbook, see the entry for folio 5 verso (D17215). For a comprehensive list of the pages which describe views of Sandgate and appearances of the Castle there, see the entry for folio 16 verso (D17233).

Maud Whatley
January 2016

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